Aah! It’s true, I can’t believe it! Damon and I are engaged! Here’s the story.
Saturday we went out with plans to go to the Chicago Botanic Garden. We’d never been before, and I was excited to get out on such a beautiful day. It was super sunny and in the 70s so not too hot out! I also planned to snap some photos for the blog and hunt for some rare Pokemon along the way.
On the way, we stopped by the mall at Northbrook Court to pick up a new pair of sunglasses for me so I could actually enjoy being outside in the sunlight (Anyone else with pale eyes having a hell of a time this summer? Damon got some new Ray-Bans last weekend and had talked up the polarization so much I had to get some for myself.) and I also got a new sport band for my Apple Watch (thanks, Adam!).
After lunch we meandered over to the Botanic Garden.
We were totally surprised at the crowd and had to wait in line just to get in to the parking lot. We found a spot pretty easily though. It’s $30 for parking! I’m guessing that’s just to cover keeping the place open, since entry is free. Membership is pretty reasonable though — $90 for the year, so the fee is covered in just 3 visits. We’re definitely considering it for next summer!
Anyhoo, we got inside and grabbed a map, then headed off through the gardens. They’re so gorgeous! It’s crazy to think this place is just outside the city. And it’s huge! There’s miles of trails to walk or ride bikes on. A lot of it is sectioned off as “prairie”, so we decided just to stick to the well-groomed and organized garden areas this trip so we could see all the pretty flowers.
Just as you exit the Visitor’s Center there’s a gorgeous floral overhang. I’ll admit I missed getting any quality photos of the area because I was a bit busy I snagging myself a Spearow and a Pidgey. Then we headed off to the left, where there were some amazing ponds with huge lilypads!
Look at those flowers! I also wish I’d snapped a few more photos in this zone — there was a cool section of herbs such as mint and lavender, which smelled amazing. There was also some odd unlabeled plant there that had huge green-blue leaves and was covered with a soft, white fur. I wish I knew what it was. I need one for my in-home window jungle!
After this, we wandered over to the meticulously managed Japanese garden. It’s so amazing! Here’s a pic of some of the pine trees (Yes, those are just pine trees!) they’ve clipped on a little untouched island area. I have no idea how old these trees are, but they mention in some of the signage that they’re actually trimmed to give them more of an essence of age.
As we headed up to the Japanese Garden area, we crossed the little zigzag bridge and Damon mentioned that he was really excited to see the willow trees. He’d spent a lot of time under them as a kid and was looking forward to reminiscing. It wasn’t something we had ever really talked about before, but he told me some sweet stories about sitting under them as a place to think when he was growing up.
We walked under the first one we saw and some geese swam up and approached us, bringing with them a bunch of tourists also snapping photos.
I could tell that Damon wasn’t really happy about the crowd forming around the birds, and thought maybe he was just looking to get a bit more solitude under the tree. We waited a bit, but the birds didn’t leave and neither did the million amateur photographers, so we walked on around the path.
We soon found another willow, though this one had a sign in front of it on it saying, “Stay on the Path”.
Damon sighed in disappointment and I said “No one’s around, go ahead!” and urged him under the tree. It was pretty clear from the ground that plenty of folks had ignored the sign, anyway. Then he beckoned me down under the tree as well, so I hopped down the path.
Before I knew it, he had taken the ring box out of his pocket and was asking me to marry him! He said a bunch of sweet things, none of which I remember, and we both cried. And look at this thing, it’s freaking gorgeous!!
We spent the rest of the afternoon texting family and friends to let them know and spent a portion of our remaining time at wandering around the garden a bit and then just sitting on benches, holding hands and admiring my fancy new bling.
All the rest of my photos of the Botanic Garden are different angles of my hand in front of pretty green scenery, but I think for blog purposes, one is enough. Haha.
We are both super thrilled and excited to be engaged. And as Damon said — I can’t wait to marry my best friend!
Hope you’re ready for me to blog about my confusion with wedding planning, because I’m already overwhelmed and it’s been 3 days. Still basking in the glow of this amazing hardware though!